Wednesday, August 31, 2005

OK Go: A Million Ways

Perhaps you've seen this music video online already. Perhaps you heard Robert Siegel's interview yesterday with the lead singer and choreographer and then watched the video on npr's site.

But then, perhaps you haven't. In which case.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Show Me the Science

From a NYT Op-Ed by Daniel C. Dennett, author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea:

[T]he proponents of intelligent design use a ploy that works something like this. First you misuse or misdescribe some scientist's work. Then you get an angry rebuttal. Then, instead of dealing forthrightly with the charges leveled, you cite the rebuttal as evidence that there is a "controversy" to teach.

Note that the trick is content-free. You can use it on any topic. "Smith's work in geology supports my argument that the earth is flat," you say, misrepresenting Smith's work. When Smith responds with a denunciation of your misuse of her work, you respond, saying something like: "See what a controversy we have here? Professor Smith and I are locked in a titanic scientific debate. We should teach the controversy in the classrooms." And here is the delicious part: you can often exploit the very technicality of the issues to your own advantage, counting on most of us to miss the point in all the difficult details.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Promise you won't rip off my idea for your blog?

I don't think the link I'm providing is date-specific. Look for Doonesbury, Monday August 29.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Memoirs of a Music Man

David Segal, former pop music critic at the Washington Post, reflects on his search for a spontaneous moment in a world of musical theatre (the rock concert). A fun read about the quest for authenticity by a 41 year old in a world of adolescent expression.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Chop Suey!

The song ("Chop Suey!") is by System of a Down.
I have no idea who these guys are.

This is a .wmv file requiring Windows Media Player.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Out of the Office

The company for which I'm contracting set me up with my own webmail account to which I receive not only messages sent to me but also anything addressed to the entire office. Many of these emails have prompted me to reflect (mostly happily) on my decision to leave a full time office job.

Email subject lines that make me glad to be freelancing:

MANDATORY: New Oracle Expense System Training
Reminder: Personal Development Goals Due 8/30
Workshop: Developing Personal Development Goals

Email subject lines that make me think about an office job again:

Massage appointments available
Wednesday's lunch menu**

**Describes catered lunch brought in to office. Included "Roasted Pork Loin with Blue Cheese and Pear Chutney."

Thursday, August 25, 2005


from Creek Running North

I read Chris Clarke's ode to summer by the Bay this week, and then, I saw the Glacier, and I was happy to have a word for it.

I am just having a meal

One of Jon Carroll's columns that reminds me that he can be brilliant when not writing about cats or the Bay Bridge toll plaza.
I do not dispute the validity of the concerns. I'm just saying: The only way I can really live softly on the land is to die, and I reject that option. What I'm left with is a series of compromises.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mr. and Mrs. Beowulf


Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary ("Pulp Fiction") have written a screenplay for Beowulf. Gaiman is quite amused at how the entertainment press don't know the story or understand how the special effects will work. His favorite version of these is intended as satire, but Gaiman says it's not far from what the real news outlets are writing:
Inspired by their success playing a husband-and-wife team of hired killers in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have agreed to star as Mr. & Mrs. Beowulf in the big-budget thriller of the same name.
(Postcards from the Pug Bus)

This is not the Stellan Skaarsgard-Sarah Polley movie filmed in Iceland debuting in Toronto (Beowulf and Grendel)

But the part about Robert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump," "Castaway," etc) directing: no joke. And he really has cast Angelina Jolie (along with Anthony Hopkins). To which The Independent wrote: "But the star casting by the director Robert Zemeckis, whose previous films include The Polar Express and Cast Away, is set to give Old English poetry a buzz to surpass even the excitement caused by the Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney's translation of the work in 1999."

The House of Cosbys

The original pilot. Back online.

St. Clair Shores, MI

A winter walking tour of a Detroit suburb, from the Human Dog Laboratories (i.e. Chris Weagel).

He's the funny video blogger.

Monday, August 22, 2005

My day in the OR

Meet daVinci, the world's only surgical robot, which I had the opportunity to test drive last week.

Harbin Winter Festival

I've seen amazing photographs of ice festivals in Minnesota, Canada, and Norway, but egad.

This festival in Heilongjian Province in China has them beat all to hell.

This photographer also has pictures from the 2003 Festival.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


via BeastBlog

Berkeley Police incidents plotted on Google maps. Looks like this week we're in a crime free zone.

Grandpa Jay's Obituary: KCRW

KCRW's Final Curtain, a radio obituary program/podcast, interviews Auntie Roselyn about Grandpa Jay's groundbreaking Navy career. (June 7, 2005)

9 minute podcast, Grandpa Jay about 2/3 in, after Kay Walsh obituary.

Friday, August 19, 2005

What They Did Last Summer

Paul Krugman lays out the evidence for nationwide election fraud from the 2000 election to the present. As perpetrators go unpunished, no disincentives protect voters from future malfeasance.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

5ives makes my week. Again.

Five terrible fake ideas for a retro TV comeback

1. James at 42
2. Joanie Swears Out a Restraining Order on Chachi
3. Saved by the Bell: The Middle-Management Years
4. Holmes and Yo-Yo Babies
5. Charlie’s Caregivers

Holmes and Yo-Yo Babies. ROTFLMAO.

Theory of Gravity Replaced by New Theory of 'Intelligent Falling'

The Onion:

KANSAS CITY, KS—As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.

The Ministry of Reshelving

Support the Ministry of Reshelving's quest to relocate one thousand nine hundred eighty-four copies of 1984 to the appropriate section of the nation's bookstores. The Ministry requires strict allegience to a set of ten rules.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Good, Crisp Decisions

In addition to the two-hour bike ride, Bush's Saturday schedule included an evening Little League Baseball playoff game, a lunch meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a nap, some fishing and some reading. "I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy," he said when asked about bike riding while a grieving mom wanted to speak with him. "And part of my being is to be outside exercising."

Who Moved My Ability to Reason

"Herewith are 'The Five Essential Principles of Business Success Books,' conveniently condensed for consumption in five minutes or less." (courtesty of Barbara Ehrenreich)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Rock Swings

Paul Anka covers Nirvana, REM, Oasis, the Cure.

George Bush's Accountability Moment

No knowing if she can draw blood where no one has drawn blood before. But Cindy Sheehan is powerfully articulate.
When my son was killed, I had to face the fact that I was somehow also responsible for what happened. Every American that allows this to continue has, to some extent, blood on their hands. Some of us have a little bit, and some of us are soaked in it.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Photoshop Actions

From McSweeney's:

Tools or Actions in Photoshop That, Were They Applicable to Real Life, Would Prove Useful at Various Stages of a Relationship.
by Michael Lascarides

Inner Glow
Make Path From Selection
History Brush
New Adjustment Layer
Sharpen More
Find Edges
Difference Clouds
Add Noise
Blur More

More lists

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

America Supports You Freedom Walk

"The Pentagon will hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an unusual announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing yesterday. 'This year the Department of Defense will initiate an America Supports You Freedom Walk,' Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of 'the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation.'

" 'The march will start at the Pentagon, where nearly 200 people died on 9/11, and end at the National Mall with a show by country star Clint Black."

Writes James Wolcott:
"But it also strikes as incredibly...pathetic. Lame. Desperate. Even the name--America Supports You Freedom Walk--sounds tonedeaf and klutzy, like a bad charity fundraising walkathon through the park. "

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mussel Shell, School House Beach

Mussel Shell, School House Beach (north of Bodega Bay, California). August 7, 2005. Photo copyright John Beach, who now owns a digital camera and is making the most of it.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Who Else Loves Trains?

The "enchanting resort town of Holland, Michigan" is home to not only a model train shop, but the corporate headquarters of TM Books/Videos which produces not only the "I Love Big Trains" three volume set but the million selling 12 volume "I Love Toy Trains" collection.

So why does their blurb on the VHS tape jacket note that in addition to these series, their credits include "The Celebrity Series, featuring the layouts of Frank Sinatra, Tom Snyder, and Mandy Patinkin?"

As Deirdre put it, what is the intersection of the set of people who watch toy train videos and the set of people who enjoy the work of Mandy Patinkin?

(Answer: one. Although I have to say Mr. Patinkin's work is vastly more enjoyable than the model train videos).

I'm not sure what a layout is, and I'm not sure I want to see Tom Snyder's, let alone Mandy Patinkin's.

Turns out that when they say Celebrity Layout they mean the celebrities' train layouts. Available on video or DVD!